1921 Census

The 1921 census for England and Wales and the Scottish 1921 census are due to be released in 2022. Here’s everything we know so far.

England And Wales Census

What date will the census be released?

The census for England and Wales was due to be released in January 2022, but transcribing has been slowed down by the Covid pandemic, not least by the 3 month lockdown in 2020. However, Find My Past told Who Do You Think You Are magazine that they are still on course to release the files in early 2022.

Only at Find My Past, at least at first

In February 2019, the National Archives announced that the contract to publish the census online had been awarded to Find My Past.

This is what happened with the 1911 census and the 1939 Register, and assuming Find My Past follow the model they used with those it’s likely that access to this census will be pay per view, even for members with an active subscription. With the previous census releases, Find My Past began including access with subscriptions once the census was available on other sites.

What information does the census contain?

There are some new fields in the 1921 census. For example, the marital status now includes divorced; for children whether their parents were alive was recorded; as well as occupation the place of work was recorded.
  • Property address
  • Names of all the occupants of the address
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Age (in years and months)
  • Sex
  • If aged 15 or over, whether single married or divorced
  • If aged under 15, whether their mother and father are alive
  • Birthplace: county and town
  • If born abroad, their nationality
  • Whether in education
  • Occupation, employer, place of work
  • Number and ages of children aged under 16
You can download a blank copy of the 1921 census form from the UK Government’s Office For National Statistics (note that the link takes you directly to the download at the ONS, via the National Archives – I wasn’t able to find a page on either the ONS or National Archives containing the link).

Some questions from previous census have been removed

The question about deafness, dumbness and blindness has been removed. It was felt that parents were unwilling to correctly answer this question about their children, and the results weren’t accurate.

The questions from the 1911 census, asking the number of years married and children born was also removed in 1921. 

No more census releases for England and Wales until 2052

Make the most of the 1921 census release, because there won’t be another until the 1951 census is released in 2052.

The 1931 census was being stored at the Office of Works building in Middlesex when a fire broke out on the 19 December 1942. The cause of the fire remains a mystery, but it was ferocious and all records stored in the building were destroyed. Although this was during World War 2, a letter stored at the National Archives sent by W A Derrick of the General Registry Office to the Central National Registration Office in Southport confirmed that the fire was not caused by enemy action.

There was no census taken in 1941, due to World War Two.

Luckily we have the 1939 Register to fill in some of the gaps, though it isn’t a thorough as a census.

Scotland Census

Scotland’s census for 1921 will now be released in the later half of 2022, once transcribing has been completed. It had originally been planned to release the census in the summer of 2021. Although Scotland’s People haven’t mentioned the pandemic as the cause of the delay, it’s likely to be the reason.

Scotland's People

As with previous censuses for Scotland, the 1921 census will only be able on the Scotland’s People website and at the Scotland’s People Centre in Edinburgh.

Irish Census

No census was taken in Ireland in 1921 due to the Irish War Of Independence. The first census taken by the Irish Free State was in 1926 and is due to be released to the public in 2027.

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